Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Shipping Stuff

(No boats were harmed, involved, or even really alluded to in the making of this post)

Two things came through my RSS reader recently that resonated with me particularly. The first, a blog post by Martin Keegan, “Intellectual Debt”, says:

I think it’s possible to accumulate “intellectual debt”. Thoughts and ideas that you’ve had, worked on, developed, talked about, but have not written up and published. You can have an idea, but until you’ve tried to write it up properly such that someone else could read and criticise it, you can’t be sure that it actually makes sense.

and GitHub’s Steve Smith makes the following declaration in an interview on “Optimizing For Happiness”:

Whether or not it gets used, you have to finish something. The worst thing you can do is start a bunch of things, get halfway through, quit and start something else. You’re not going to be happy. Ship stuff.


Both of these hit home hard. I’ve got a variety of half-finished, un-written-up side projects that have suffered an undue amount of neglect due to client work and life. I suspect I’m far from alone in this.

Right now I’m taking some holiday time, and since several schools of thought seem to suggest a public commitment can aid in achieving a goal, here’s the list of things I’m going to try to ship over the coming weeks:

  • "Learning Me A Haskell" - an informal "worked introduction" to writing a puzzle solver in Haskell
  • "Jeeves-Door" - hooking up my doorbell to a Raspberry Pi for tweets and texts and photos when someone comes a-ringing
  • "Jeeves-Bell" - replacing the guts of my analogue alarm clock with a Raspberry Pi  for better alarm control and scheduling
  • A campaign to encourage people to cite their sources when publishing

There’s more I’ve got queued, but this holiday time is finite, and this feels like the right amount to be “challenging but achievable”.

If like me you’ve got a personal project backlog, why not join me on a “shipping spree” - I’d love to hear from you if you do.